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STEM News Roundup: This Week in STEM Education

STEM News Round-Up: This Week in STEM Education

This week in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education, big companies continue to lend their hand—and their dollars—to research and development of STEM studies, particularly those focused on getting children interested in STEM at a young age.

Museum and Oil Company Team Up for Teacher Training STEM Program; Partnership Questioned

In Dallas, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is teaming up with Kosmos Energy to provide teachers with the Kosmos Energy STEM Teaching Institute in hopes of improving science education.

Some critics of the move are worried that big companies like Kosmos Energy are getting too involved with education when it comes to STEM, but the company insists it will not dictate what is taught in the program.

According to the Dallas News, in "March, dozens of scientists signed an open letter urging science and natural history museums, including the Perot, to cut ties with fossil fuel companies and people who fund lobbyist groups that deny the scientific consensus on climate change."

Teachers going through the program—which will cost $800,000 over the next three years—are happy to be getting the training, however. So far, participants told the Dallas News the training has been a helpful tool they say will reflect in their classroom in the coming school year.

Read the full story here

Google Sponsors Research into Early Interest in STEM

Google has given two Indiana University researchers $150,000 to continue their research in how to spark early interest in STEM fields.

"Associate professor of science education Adam Maltese and associate professor of learning sciences Kylie Peppler will be building on their previous research about what makes kids interested in STEM and what factors lead them to continue in the field," said the Indiana Daily Student.

The researchers will continue their work this August to conduct further surveys and interviews and find out more on what gets kids interested in STEM early on.

"If the research shows students showing different interest within STEM based on their location, gender or age then this can be applied to future teachings. Creating STEM education and activities specific for certain demographics will increase the likelihood of students pursuing STEM," the article said.

Read the full story here.

STEM and the Growth Mindset

A recently published study looks at the importance of encouraging a growth mindset when getting students into STEM. Rather than tell children that not everyone can do difficult math, for example, parents and teachers should encourage kids to try. By doing so, children are more likely to get interested and persevere in STEM studies.

"The study used data from 4,450 students in the United States who later entered college to probe why some students shun math-intensive fields. The researchers' reasoning: If a student thinks math is too difficult, they become reluctant to try it," according to USNews.com.

And that's exactly what the study found. It found that students who were encouraged to keep trying were likely to get through obstacles to learning and master the desired skills.

"Teachers who continue to believe that 'your basic intelligence can't change' – despite evidence to the contrary – may rob students of opportunities to learn and grow. Computer science and math instructors who endorse such beliefs, for instance, report being more likely to advise struggling undergraduates to their classes," the article said.

The researchers hope their study will help teachers to do away with discouragement in the STEM studies to get more interested learners in the fields.

Read the full story here.

Why Mentoring in STEM is Critical for Minorities

According to Entrepreneur.com, mentorship is a critical component that needs to be researched and tested when getting minorities interested in STEM subjects.

"One-on-one attention from a mentor enables students to envision a rewarding career they might otherwise not known about or considered out of reach. Mentors provide education and career advice, encouragement and support as students explore new fields and develop new skills," the article said.

By mentoring the up-and-coming STEM students from diverse backgrounds, it will help move American students "to the front of the pack" as well as help diversify who makes up STEM careers.

"If we work together, we can achieve a future in STEM that not only drives our nation forward but also reflects the rich diversity of our society."

Read the full story here.

 

 

Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

0714/2015

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